Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook believes that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) should have ported Office on iPad earlier to get more benefit, but it was better late than never. This year, in March, Microsoft launched Office apps for iPad, and just within nine days downloads totalled to 12 million.

Apple Tim Cook AAPL

“If it had been done earlier, it would’ve been better for Microsoft,” Cook said during a second-quarter earnings call on Wednesday.

Microsoft office important for iPad

Since there was no Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) office app for iPad earlier, productivity suites like iWork were used commonly, but according to Cook, Microsoft Office is an important app for iPad users, primarily for enterprise customers, who are responding well to the app.

“I do see that Office is a very key franchise in the enterprise,” Cook said. “I wholeheartedly welcome Microsoft to the App Store.”

It happens once in a blue moon when Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) praises Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), the company that is undergoing massive restructuring under the supervision of new CEO Satya Nadella, appointed in February. Nadella clearly emphasized on his “mobile first, cloud first” strategy related to the interrelated set of applications in the cloud available for multiple devices.

Apple CEO confident despite lower iPad sales

For the second quarter, total shipments of iPad reached 16.35 million units, a decline from 19.48 million units in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. Sales of iPad came in much lower in the recent quarter compared to the expectations of analysts. The consensus estimate was that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) would sell at least 19.2 million units. Cook cited various reasons behind the low sales such as reducing the iPad channel inventory this year compared to the same period last year. The second reason acknowledged by Cook was the lack of enough iPad Mini during the holiday season, which was shipped during the second quarter end.

However, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is still seeing growth in the segment with new products to come, according to Cook. The CEO said that the numbers hardly matter as every quarter “[there’s] going to be a number that everyone’s thrilled with,” Cook said.

Cook believes that the iPad shipments would be ahead PC, in the future. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad debuted in 2010, and since then a total of 210 million units have been sold, which is two times more than iPhone sold in the first four years and seven times over the iPods.